Ocean Cruising, Counterfeiting, Plant Crime, Piketty & Graeber, Dylan Thomas, Art Theft


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Floating Feasts

David Owen | New Yorker | 27th October 2014

Eating and other diversions on board the Oasis of the Seas, a cruise liner with 23 restaurants, 20 kitchens and a cup-cake shop. All national stereotypes hold good. The Spanish eat most fruit and cheese. The Americans eat most pizza and fries. The Australians are the heaviest drinkers. The Chinese are the heaviest gamblers. Oasis passengers "eat a metric ton of lobster during a typical seven-day cruise" (4,330 words)

The Great Paper Caper

Wells Tower | GQ | 28th October 2014

After years wasted stealing cars and dealing drugs, Frank Bourassa had his epiphany. "I realised: The end result is always the same. You do all this work just to get money. So fuck it: Why not skip everything and just start making currency?" Two years later he was the most prolific counterfeiter in American history — "a guy with more than $200 million in nearly flawless fake twenties stuffed in a garage" (7,450 words)

Why Steal The World’s Rarest Water Lily?

Sam Knight | Guardian | 28th October 2014

The answer to the question posed by the headline is self-evident: because it is the rarest water lily, irresistible to the obsessive collector. And, as this baggy tale demonstrates, if you do want to steal something of world-historical rarity, a plant from Kew Gardens is a sane choice. Plant crime isn't even a concept in British police work, let alone a priority. If you don't get caught red-handed, you won't get caught at all (6,000 words)

Soak The Rich

David Graeber & Thomas Piketty | The Baffler | 27th October 2014

Debate on the future of capitalism. Graeber, the more radical, thinks it is heading for collapse; Piketty is less sure. Graeber: "Capitalism is not old. It hasn’t been around forever, and it seems just as reasonable to imagine it can be transformed into something completely different as to imagine it will necessarily continue existing until the sun blows up, or until it annihilates us through some ecological catastrophe" (3,460 words)

The Swansea Boy

Dan Piepenbring | Paris Review | 27th October 2014

Excerpt from Paul Ferris’s Ink Is Wanted By Raving Brother, an oral history of Dylan Thomas's early years in Swansea. He left school at 16 "by mutual consent" for a job on the South Wales Daily Post. A colleague remembers: "I was a sub-editor. When you saw his copy, it was appalling. Nor was he reliable. To my knowledge, he wrote a crit of the Messiah at one of the St Thomas chapels, to which he didn’t bother to go" (1,200 words)

Pipino, Gentleman Thief

David Wolman & Joshua Davis | Epic | 27th October 2014

Vincenzo Pipino leads a charmed life in Venice as a cat burglar, stealing minor artworks from palazzos. The police consider him "the most talented thief in modern Venetian history". So do the Mafia. When a Mafia boss strong-arms Pipino into stealing a masterpiece from a museum, Pipino can hardly refuse; but nor does he want to comply. His solution: Steal the masterpiece from the museum, then steal it back from the Mafia (8,600 words)

Video of the day: Regular Division

What to expect: Fragmented images of a deserted greenhouse. Cubist influence

Thought for the day

News is what a chap who doesn't care much about anything wants to read
Evelyn Waugh (https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/11315.Evelyn_Waugh?page=2)

The Death of Old Europe 3rd November, St Mary Moorfields Church, 7pm
The brilliant and charming David Hargreaves, editor of The Browser Looks Back, will be our guide to the extraordinary parallel world of 1914. Admission is free. Click here to register. (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/august-december-1914-the-death-of-old-europe-tickets-13574558871)

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